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Nationals' Wilson Ramos focused on getting offense back on track in 2016

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Wilson Ramos made it through the 2015 campaign without any injuries, he was nominated for a Gold Glove (which he did not win), but his offensive numbers weren't what he expected and he's working hard to get things back on track at the plate in 2016.

Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

Wilson Ramos was nominated for a Gold Glove this winter, though he didn't win the award. He also stayed healthy for the full season for the first time in a few years.

Unfortunately his numbers at the plate weren't as impressive as his numbers behind the plate were and weren't what the catcher or the Washington Nationals hoped they would be.

The 28-year-old receiver played in a career-high 128 games, making a career-high 504 plate appearances, but his .229/.258/.358 line was down from .267/.299/.399 in 2014.

He hit 16 doubles and 15 home runs in a 0.4 fWAR campaign, which followed back-to-back 1.5 fWAR seasons.

"Everybody told me all the numbers I put [up] this year were good for getting that award, but I don't know what happened. All my numbers were really good." -Wilson Ramos on getting nominated for Gold Glove award

Ramos had a .995 fielding percentage and a career-high 44% caught stealing percentage. Washington Post writer James Wagner noted, in an early October article, that Ramos allowed the fewest passed balls in the NL (3) and the second-fewest wild pitches among qualified National League catchers (26).

Ramos' nine Defensive Runs Saved (DRS) were the NL's highest amongst qualified catchers, tied with San Francisco Giants' backstop Buster Posey ahead of the St. Louis Cardinals' backstop Yadier Molina.

"I'm very excited, very happy for all I did behind the plate," Ramos said when he spoke to reporters at Nats WinterFest this weekend.

"What I did behind the plate made me feel good because I'm learning every year more and more. With my offense, I'm a little bit not happy, but I know I have to work and need to work a lot try to do a better job next season."

Molina won his eighth straight Gold Glove, but Ramos said he was happy to be nominated.

"That made me feel very happy," Ramos said.

"All my family and my friends, and a lot of people in my country were very happy with that. Everybody told me all the numbers I put [up] this year were good for getting that award, but I don't know what happened. All my numbers were really good."

Asked about things not going as well at the plate as they did behind it, Ramos said he's working hard this winter and is determined to improve his offensive production.

"I know offense for catchers is not that important, defense is more important, but I like to help my team with my bat too..." - Wilson Ramos on offensive struggles in 2015

"I know offense for catchers is not that important, defense is more important," he explained, "but I like to help my team with my bat too so this offseason I'm working hard with that and trying to get better approach at home plate and trying concentrate more on putting the ball in play.

"This year, I had a lot of strikeouts, so that didn't help me, but I'm concentrated now on all that so hopefully this season will be better than [last] season."

Ramos struck out in 101 of his 504 PAs, a 20% K% that was the highest of his career.

His Batting Average on Balls in Play (BABIP) dropped too, from .306, .270 and .290, respectively, from 2012-2014 to .256 (which was down from a .281 career average).

While he's concentrating on improving at the plate, Ramos said he is preparing the same way as he did last winter in terms of his offseason workouts, with one difference...

"This offseason, I'm working like three times more hard than last year.

Right now I'm concentrating on working my whole body. Just working out really hard. I've got a really good plan.

I learned from last year, from this year, last season, because playing 128 games, that was the first time in my career, and I got tired at some points, but I'm getting ready to try to do the same and stay healthy for the whole season."

He also said he was looking forward to working with new Nats' pitching coach Mike Maddux and had already talked to the Nationals' new manager, Dusty Baker.

"He's a really good guy," Ramos said of Baker. "A couple years ago, when he was last with Cincinnati, every time we played against them he'd say, 'Hi,' to me and try to talk, but he's a really good guy. We talked a little bit yesterday and the day before at the stadium. He calls me 'The General', I don't know why. But he's got really good communication."

As for working with Maddux, Ramos said he thinks he can help the veteran coach get up to speed on the Nats' arms. "It's very important for a pitching coach and catcher to have good communication," he said.

"Because I have a lot of things to learn from them. I'm 100% sure he will be close to me because I know all the pitching staff and he doesn't know anybody here, so probably he will want [to know] more about them and he will ask me, so we will be in touch a lot."

Will it be the final season for Ramos in the nation's capital?

He's due to become a free agent after the 2016 campaign, and after playing for $3.55M in 2015, he's due a raise to around $5.3M according to MLBTraderumors.com's arbitration projections.

Will the Nationals' catcher of the future come from within the system? Will Pedro Severino or another backstop prospect step up?

Will Mike Rizzo find another young, major league-ready catcher in a trade like he did with Ramos, or will the Nats find a way to keep Ramos in D.C. beyond next season?